5 Players to Watch Against Michigan State

5 Players to Watch Against Michigan State

Football

5 Players to Watch Against Michigan State

Michigan vs. Michigan State. The battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Families split, friends wage war. Welcome to rivlary week in the state of Michigan. Michigan is looking to keep their big season of championship possibilities alive, while MSU looks to play spoiler for the Wolverines. Here are the five players you need to watch for this Saturday.

1. QB Shea Patterson – Michigan

Quarterback Shea Patterson played a great game last week and will be asked to do it again, this time on the road in a huge rivalry game. Last time he was asked to do this it was a struggle, but he wasn’t the only one who had problems as the entire Wolverines had issues week one.

Patterson has taken that next step as the quarterback and looks to be the quarterback head coach Jim Harbaugh has needed in his tenure at Michigan and now with a running game and a defense, this is the Michigan team Harbaugh has wanted to build all along.

Patterson will look to bring Paul Bunyan back home to Ann Arbor and against a pesky rival like Michigan State it won’t be easy. It was a quiet first quarter against Wisconsin, but once Patterson ran for 81 yards, the crowd was electric and momentum was on their side. Patterson is going to have to make a play or two to get this team going or else it could be a game that could get ugly.

2. QB Brian Lewerke – Michigan State

Now we flip to the other quarterback playing on Saturday, Brian Lewerke from Michigan State. Lewerke has taken a step back from 2017, throwing the same amount of interceptions in 13 games from last year, in just six this season, and it will jump past seven eventually.

Michigan has the number one pass defense in the country and that isn’t what you want to tell a struggling quarterback. Lewerke has led the Spartans to a big win over Penn State last week, but this game is different.

Lewerke will have to play lights out to have a chance against this Wolverines defense, especially the secondary. If Lewerke is having a great game, it’s going to be a shootout, but if Lewerke struggles to get things moving for the Spartans offense, it might be a long day in East Lansing.

3. WR Nico Collins – Michigan

Patterson is going to have to get help from his wide receivers and while Donovan Peoples-Jones has been his favorite wide receiver, he should get more of the attention and that leaves Nico Collins on an island by himself.

Michigan State has the 117th ranked pass defense and that is just asking for Harbaugh to have Patterson sling the ball around. Collins is his big wide receiver and throwing up 50/50 balls that are actually 70/30 can turn the passing game into a point machine.

Tight end Zach Gentry could have a good game as well, but Collins has made some big catches and seems to be a deep threat and if the Spartans can’t cover the pass, throwing deep shouldn’t be a problem for Patterson and Collins.

4. WR Felton Davis III – Michigan State

Outside of Lewerke, wide receiver Felton Davis III is the last playmaker on the Spartans offense. Davis is the leading receiver for MSU with 31 catches for 474 yards and four touchdowns and is a threat to the Wolverines pass defense.

One problem though is how good the secondary for Michigan is. Cornerback David Long is having another good season and while he doesn’t get the turnovers, it’s because quarterbacks don’t throw his way and in the stat below you can see why.

Long might be on Davis III, if not Lavert Hill can do the job fine, but that is the matchup to watch throughout the game is can Michigan shut down Davis III.

5. CB David Long – Michigan

See number four for even more David Long talk. Long, again, might be on Davis III and hopefully so as that can have a huge impact on how this game turns out. Long has 12 tackles and four pass deflections this year.

Long is turning into the next great Michigan cornerback and a matchup with Davis III is just what the doctor ordered. Long hasn’t had much competition in the wide receiver department and this game can prove to others that he is a legitimate cornerback that nobody is talking about.

If Long struggles then it will be shown and talked about how Davis III was able to ball out, but if Long keeps him in check, he will start getting more eyes on him as he was able to shut down one of the best wide receivers in the conference.

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